Countryside and wildlife

We care for and manage over 76,000 hectares of countryside, home to a huge variety of wildlife and world-famous natural landscapes.

At Trust places you’ll find some of Scotland’s most loved natural sights, as well as some less well known but equally inspiring hidden gems. We work to make sure that people of all ages and interests can enjoy the countryside, from Munro-baggers to birdwatchers. We love to share our natural treasures with the world.

With all the different environments in our care comes an abundance of rare and remarkable wildlife. By careful monitoring and conservation efforts, we work to protect the habitats that support all kinds of animal and plant communities, from red squirrels and seabirds, to montane scrub and ancient trees.

So, what does the countryside have to offer?

Scenery

All across Scotland there are places of extraordinary natural beauty. You can enjoy rugged wilderness at Kintail, ancient pine woods at Mar Lodge Estate National Nature Reserve, or towering peaks at Torridon. From the seashore all the way up to the mountain tops, you can see Scotland at its most breathtaking.

The mountains known as the Five Sisters reflected in the waters of Loch Duich, Kintail
The Five Sisters reflected in the waters of Loch Duich, Kintail

Wildlife

Our places are home to some of Scotland’s rarest and most renowned flora and fauna. There are otters and pine martens at Inverewe, red squirrels at Killiecrankie, and we’ve got the UK’s first bat reserve at Threave Estate. On the slopes of Ben Lawers you can find rare and endangered mountain plants, and the largest seabird colony in the North-East Atlantic nests on St Kilda.

A red squirrel in the snow at Mar Lodge Estate
A red squirrel in the snow at Mar Lodge Estate

Adventure

We’re responsible for four out of the five tallest mountains in Scotland, and we maintain 270 miles of upland and lowland paths. Our doors are open to everyone, whether you fancy an easy Sunday stroll through the woods or a challenging climb to the summit of Ben Macdui, which stands at a mighty 1,309m tall.

The view of Loch Lomond from the peak of Ben Lomond
Enjoying the incredible views from the top of Ben Lomond

History

There’s also plenty of fascinating history to discover in the countryside, from the bloody stories of places like Glencoe National Nature Reserve and Killiecrankie, to tales of the ancient volcanic activity that created the caves and columns at Staffa. 

The road into Glencoe, past the mountains known as the Three Sisters
The road into Glencoe, past the Three Sisters

Big facts

  • We care for over 400 islands and islets, many of which are home to some of the world’s most important seabird colonies.
  • We have 46 Munros, including Ben Macdui, the UK’s second biggest mountain.
  • We look after 8 National Nature Reserves, all the way from Mar Lodge Estate to Staffa.
  • There are 27 sites at Trust places that have been designated being of special importance for nature conservation in Europe.
  • The archipelago of St Kilda is the UK’s only dual UNESCO World Heritage Site   – and it’s also home to one of the world’s oldest breeds of sheep!
  • We’re responsible for 245 miles of mountain footpaths – that’s the same as the distance between Dumfries and John o’ Groats (as the crow flies).

100 ways

in which we’re loving and protecting Scotland, for you.

More

Explore

3 key projects

Three case studies for an insight into the vital work we do to care for and protect Scotland’s countryside.

Key wildlife

The National Trust for Scotland’s countryside places are a dream come true for animal lovers and botanists alike.

Key habitats

The Trust cares for a great variety of different landscapes and environments.

Nature Channel

Incredible footage of the Trust’s landscapes and wildlife shot by our very own countryside experts

Trust at work

Protecting and managing 76,000 hectares of countryside takes dedication and enthusiasm.

Countryside rangers

Our rangers are the backbone of the Trust’s countryside team.

Why do we record wildlife?

Recording wildlife leads to in-depth knowledge about the plants and animals that we share our islands with.